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is there life on mars? [a place for you and me]

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When the clock strikes noon on a hot summer’s day, gentle sunlight filtering through cracks in his curtains, Woojin decides to get up and wander downstairs. He hasn’t slept; hasn’t needed to for the last decade, and knows that this winter he’ll be sleeping to regain strength for the upcoming spring. The house is silent other than some clacking on a keyboard, which he assumes is one of the youngest playing a game in the den.

Upon peering into the den, he sees that it is not. He’d walked down the three flights of stairs, deciding that expending energy for a quick spell was worthless when he could use the exercise. He decides that the clicking isn’t important, and proceeds to make a cup of tea.

That is, until he realizes that he can hear someone walking around upstairs. He can tell by their stride that it’s Hyunjin. If Hyunjin is home, it means that there’s someone else is clicking away on a keyboard. Woojin gets a sinking feeling in his chest when he recognizes from the breathing who it is.

They’ve all still got needs, despite the fact that they’re supernatural entities. He knows this, and reminds the coven of this fact, but they pay him no mind, least of all Chan, whose got a heart of gold and a willingness to help anyone and everything with all kinds of needs.

It makes him a good mediator, and a good teacher. The younger’s always got his arms outstretched for hugs or preventing others from colliding with walls or problems. It’s part of his charm, and Chan’s pretty, dimpled, crescent eye smile certainly makes it a whole package.

Woojin knows that the younger extends himself too far, but he’s usually good at paying attention and knowing when he needs to break. This project that’s kept him holed up in his room on the second floor, door tightly shut and the sounds of his mumbling coming from inside, is worrisome; the older knows that this time, an interference is necessary.

This brings Woojin to where he is, at this moment in time: standing outside of Chan’s door, bag slung over his shoulder and hand raised to knock. It’d be silly if the coven wasn’t a stickler on boundaries. Everyone’s senses, including the witches’, were heightened beyond a mere human’s. They could hear where everyone was in the house at all times, even unconsciously in sleep. Woojin knocked anyways, even knowing that the younger had heard him in the kitchen making food and then carefully walking up the stairs to stand outside the door, waiting.

Chan’s reply to his knock is a barely audible low hum. The older picks it up easily, though, and gently turns the door knob to peer inside. It’s dark; so dark, in fact, that Woojin has to blink a few times himself. How laughable. What isn’t laughable is the surprise and fear that flits through him when he sees the younger curled up in a corner, just a ball of fabric and hair on the floor. When it’d gone silent in the room while he prepared a few things he’d just assumed the younger had paused to think, not to retreat to the ground in a fetal position.

“Channie?” Woojin keeps his voice low as he quickly eases into the room and shuts the door, pushing the light back out. He sets his things down on the table closest to him before making his way over to the younger’s form. “Why are you on the floor love?”

Chan doesn’t reply, but he does shift enough that the older catches his eyes. They’re golden, a sparkling, eerie golden that only a supernatural being can posses. Woojin kneels next to the younger, catching a stray hand that had fallen out of the many layers of blankets wrapped around him. “Channie…”

The younger tears up, lips trembling in an upset pout. “Woojnnie. Woojinnie.”

It’s through the way his name is said that Woojin knows Chan is close to breaking. He can handle broken pieces. He’s always been good at keeping everyone together, healing cuts and mending minds. Woojin doesn’t even think twice before he’s scooping the younger up into his arms, blankets and all.

“Channie, my brave, selfless love.” Woojin croons the words into his partner’s ear, cradling the other’s body close to his chest and rocking them both back and forth; back and forth. It’s quiet, the air damp but calm. Chan breaks down slowly, a sob curling up from his ribcage and breaking loose in his throat. He clings to the older, with claws outstretched in a moment of grief and mindlessness.

Woojin pays no mind when a claw tears at his skin. It’s not as if a little blood will bother him.

Chan continues to cry and Woojin bounces the younger softly in his arms, moving around the room in collected, meaningful steps and humming a tune. He’s got his nose pressed up against hair, lips kissing at the hairline and down the other’s forehead. He’s not sure how much time is passing but he continues to rock and hold and hum, not releasing his grip he’s got around the limbs and fabric in his arms.

It’s awful to listen to, how he sounds like he hasn’t cried in what seems like a century. But that’s understandable, given the fact that Chan actually hasn’t broken down in the comfort of someone else in decades. Even as the younger’s crying slows Woojin doesn’t let his grip up; he squeezes Chan when the the other whimpers.

“Love?” He speaks quietly, not wanting to startle the other out of his semi calm state. “Can I take you to my room?” He phrases it as a question, but the underlying message is there: Woojin will take Chan with him wherever he wants in this moment. Chan tries to respond but it's just a jumble of broken syllables and groans.

The younger whines, frustrated with himself. “No, no. Channie, it's okay.” He bounces the other once, twice, three times in his arms, adjusting his grip to cradle him closer to his chest. “Its okay, its okay. I’ve got you my love.”

He has Chan hold the few things he’d brought with him, clutching the backpack and box in his own arms as the older carries him out of his dark, musty room and up a flight of stairs to the top floor. His room has curtains that block out the sun, but he leaves the windows open because of the summer’s heat. It will be less stagnant, even in darkness.

They pass by Hyunjin once Woojin reaches the last step of the staircase. The hybrid’s eyebrows raise in surprise, especially upon seeing Chan in the older’s arms, eyes closed and wrapped in blankets. The younger makes a move to help but Woojin shakes his head. The unspoken “I’ll tell Felix” is passed between them from the younger to the older before the he makes his way into his room and shuts the door behind him.

It’s much more peaceful, with the safe haven aura filling the walls of the eldest’s room. Chan stirs from his sleep, letting out a noise of contentment when he’s set on loveseat in the corner. Woojin pries the bag and box from the other’s fingertips, smiling when he whines.

“It’s okay love. I’ll take them now.” Only when he places a firm kiss to the younger’s forehead does he relinquish his grasp on the items, letting the older do as he pleases.

Chan blinks sleep from his eyes, yawning. “What-”

“Shhh, Channie. You should sleep.” Chan’s face twists into something unreadable.

“I can’t, I-” He breaks off, like he wants to say something but can’t; or won’t.

Woojin decides to try another approach. Whatever it is that is bothering the younger won’t go away after some rest. But he needs rest, needs it if the bags under his eyes and the way he keeps yawning and twitching on the loveseat are signs to proclaim to the world how tired he is.

“Channie, you may be a supernatural creature with insomnia, but even werewolves need to pass out on the regular.” Woojin tries to refrain from using his parental voice he uses with the rest of coven, knowing that might put the younger off, but ultimately fails. Chan just pouts in response.

“Woojinnie, if I could sleep I would.” Woojin feels relieved at the sight of the younger’s pout, and nothing more. He can work with this.

“I know, love. I know. But you still need to try. Here, I’ll even lay down with you.” Woojin pushed the loveseat out and pushes the back down to make a bed sized space for the both of them. The werewolf watches as he rearranges the blankets and walks around to the other side. He blinks.

“Are you sure?” The unspoken ‘I won’t be a bother, right?’ goes unsaid, but the older hears it all the same.

“Of course I’m sure love. Let’s get some good rest in you.” There’s shuffling before Chan is pressed with his back to Woojin’s front, the older resting his nose against the werewolf’s neck.

Chan lets out a little gasp. “Ah sorry Channie. Is this okay?” Woojin pulls back to look at the younger. Chan’s eyes as a muted golden now, eyelids fluttering shut.

“M’no Woojinnie, its okay. Feel safe.” If Woojin had a heart it would be stuttering right now. He tugs the younger back into place, resting his nose and carefully grazing his teeth over the werewolf’s exposed neck, relaxing when he hears a pleased noise.

It takes a bit. Chan’s limbs keep twitching, but after awhile he stills, splayed out across his broad chest and soft snores emitting from him. Woojin breathes out a sigh, and settles back to wait. He’s got all the time in the world.

-_-_-_-_-_-_-

Felix peeks into Woojin’s room a couple of hours after Chan falls asleep. The eldest looks up when their coven leader’s face appears around his door and smiles, beckoning the younger inside. The witch’s eyes light up when he sees Chan, and they slip into something of gentle fondness when he notices that the older is sleeping.

“How long?” It’s murmured quietly, in a tone so deep and smooth, like the younger was hoping to speak and not wake their resting werewolf from slumber.

“A couple of hours. Had a bit of a meltdown before.” Woojin runs a hand through Chan’s hair and smiles when the younger snuffs in his sleep, curling up closer to the older. “Do you know what project he was working on?”

Felix frowns. “Jisung said it was something for a new client. He hasn’t even let him or Changbin help him.” Woojin also frowns, expression matching the younger witch’s almost identically.

“Someone should air out his room, and clean it up a bit.” The witch catches onto the vampire’s meaning almost immediately.

“I’ll see if Seungmin and Hyunjin are busy.” Felix pets Chan’s head a moment before pulling back. “Don’t worry about dinner, I’ll have someone send him up something.”

“His favorite.” Felix smiles.

“His favorite,” their coven leader agrees, and leaves, closing the door behind him.

Woojin shifts, tugging Chan even closer and resting his head on the younger’s. He hears the sounds of the coven moving around in the floors below, and hums in content. He’s lucky to have them in his life, but most especially Chan, who he (and the rest of them) won’t let anything happen to.

Chan is theirs, and he’s not being let go of any time soon.